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Star-Telegram.com

Market for Perry books shrinking with poll numbers

Posted Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011

By Aman Batheja

abatheja@star-telegram.com

A much-hyped wave of books on Gov. Rick Perry has shrunk to a trickle.

In light of the presidential candidate's plummeting poll numbers and cringe-inducing gaffe at Wednesday's debate, the market for Perry books appears to be closing fast with at least one planned work already shelved.

"I had a deal, and then Perry blew it," said R.G. Ratcliffe, an Austin-based writer and former Star-Telegram reporter who spent part of this year finishing a book on Perry.

Earlier this year, when Perry was a white-hot presidential prospect largely unknown to voters outside of Texas, talk surfaced of multiple books on Perry's life and record heading to bookstore shelves. By September, Politico was describing a "seller's market for Perry books" with some tomes expected to come out by the end of the year or early 2012.

Ratcliffe said his book deal with a publisher fell apart when Perry's early debate performances began to draw ridicule.

"I have a written book, but at this point in time there's not a whole lot of market for it," Ratcliffe said. "Everything's on hold for a moment."

Recent searches on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble's website did not bring up listings for any upcoming Perry-focused books from major publishers. A paperback version of Perry's own book, Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington, comes out Jan. 3, according to Amazon.com.

Steve McVicker, a Houston-area journalist and author of the book I Love You Phillip Morris, first proposed a book on the Texas governor to his agent in April and didn't draw much enthusiasm. Things changed in August.

"Right after the prayer rally and Perry getting into the race, then the interest heated up ... and now things are in a state of flux," McVicker said.

The writers of a humorous anti-Perry book aren't waiting to see what happens next in Perry's effort to make it to the Oval Office.

James Moore, the co-author of Bush's Brain, and Democratic political consultant Jason Stanford had originally made a deal with Metropolitan Books for a January release date of Adios Mofo: Why Rick Perry Will Make America Miss George W. Bush.

Stanford said he and Moore have shifted course and are self-publishing their work as an e-book this week followed by a paperback version to come out later. Stanford said the original January release date risked the book coming out too late to capitalize on interest.

"We feel a little urgency to get the book out so we're self-publishing. ... Adios mofo has taken on a whole new meaning since Wednesday," Stanford said.

Both Ratcliffe and McVicker said their book plans could change quickly if Perry's campaign bounces back.

Even if it doesn't, a Perry book is still possible, McVicker said.

"It's almost like the train wreck effect," McVicker said. "People might want to read about him more."

Aman Batheja, 817-390-7695

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